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Mumbai Diary page: Wednesday Whispers

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Making Sen-se with Deepika
Screen heart-throb Shahrukh Khan will soon be leaving for his global slam tour live concert, which begins September 20.

Shah Rukh Khan
SRK is set to rock fans around the world

Deepika Padukone will be among the troupe who are joining him, but interestingly, SRK tells us that Deepika was not his first choice. “I wanted Sushmita Sen. I wanted to dance to those lovely songs from Main Hoon Na. I called her but she had to turn it down as she is shooting at that time,” he said. And so, it had to be his Om Shanti Om co-star in the picture.

Ro, ro, ro your bot
It's an event to delight a geek’s heart. And the heart of anyone else who likes things with movable parts that speak in electronic voices. We are talking about Robocon 2014, which is being hosted in India for the second time (the first was in 2008). Robocon, which sounds like something out of the TV serial The Big Bang Theory, is organised by the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union and its member organisations, including our very own Doordarshan (Prasar Bharti).

The event is being held at the MIT Academy of Engineering, Pune (yes, our very own MIT, as it were) on Sunday, and this year’s theme is “A salute to parenthood”. Hmm, robot moms and dads… a reflection on current times? Not to mention robot children, made to learn by rote and regurgitate within rigid parameters. Ah, but the theme is supposed to celebrate the work of parents, who promote and support the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of child from infancy to adulthood.

Parenthood bestows a wide range of experiences that offer love, security, stimulation, encouragement and opportunities to help a child flourish and grow to achieve its full potential, says the event’s theme note. But we are still visualising scenes from movies such as Bicentennial Man (with the late great Robin Williams delivering a stellar performance) and Robot and Frank, not to mention Asimov’s suspenseful I, Robot. Can’t help it, we have vivid imaginations…

Down to earth
Rumor has it that the Indian Navy considers itself a cut above the rest to the extent that at public functions, speeches are made exclusively in English. But when PM Narendra Modi launched INS Kolkata in the city on Saturday, we hear that perhaps for the first time in the memory of most the speeches were in Hindi. Mere desh ki dharti … and samundar!

Crunch that packs a punch
The latest thing at the corner shop, we hear on Twitter, is a new variety of munchie that has plenty of power in its bite. We don’t know who came up with this cracking idea, but these “CID Snacks” are sure to be a hit, if you don’t mind yet another pun, with those who are familiar with the record-setting television show. The pack features the show’s hero, ACP Pradyuman, flanked by Daya and Abhijeet, his trusty lieutenants.

Maybe other flavours of the crispy tidbits carry other members of the cast on the pack but as far as we are concerned, these three are winners.

ACP Pradyuman’s familiar hand gestures are sure to come in handy when extricating the snacks from the bag, Abhijeet’s keen eye will be able to pick out the pieces with the most masala on them, and as for Daya why, when you are struggling to open the bag, just bring to mind his muscular efforts in breaking down doors (“Daya, darwaza todo!” is a familiar joke for many of us), and the plastic will part as smooth as butter.

But is it official, we hear someone ask. Maybe not, and if the show’s copyright owners locate the originator of this spicy show-stopper, we might even hear some new dialogue from Daya.

Change is the only constant
In the melee which is the perennially frenzied BEST bus ride, it is often the conductor’s good humour or tongue in cheek which provides a chuckle-worthy break. Our colleague encountered one such the other day, when going from Opera House to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and she gave the conductor Rs 15.

The smiling conductor handed back the Rs 5 coin and Rs 2 more in change, telling the surprised commuter, “The BEST has not become so expensive as yet.” Other commuters laughed, lifting the mood in the crowded bus where tempers were frayed as elbows dug into each other, and people were pushing ahead to alight.

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